Bank of Ghana's surveys of Business and Consumer Confidence show that both indices of business and consumer expectations dipped slightly at the end of the first quarter from the highly favourable levels recorded in preceding quarters.
Non-financial corporate sector performance during the first quarter of 2007 was robust and broad based for listed companies.
"These companies posted good results in terms of turnover growth, net profits and cost of sales in various sectors, covering manufacturing, distribution, food and beverages, agriculture, and information technology,” the Governor Dr Paul Acquah said.
Deposit Money Bank's (DMBs) credit to the private sector and public institutions continued to show significant growth as it increased by 12 per cent (¢3,021 billion or GH¢302.1 million) to ¢28,218.8 billion (GH¢2.82 billion) in the first quarter of 2007 and 11.9 per cent during the last quarter of 2006.
Addressing journalists in Accra, Dr Paul Acquah said in the 12-month period to March 2007, DMBs credit to the private sector and public institutions rose by 50.4 per cent (¢9,460 billion or GH¢946.0 million) compared with 42.1 per cent (¢5,559 billion or GH¢555.9 million) recorded for the same period in 2006.
In real terms, credit to the private sector grew by 41.7 per cent in March 2007 (highest in recent times), compared with the 28.7 per cent recorded for December 2006 and the 19.4 per cent for the corresponding period of 2006.
The distribution of the annual credit flow was broad-based, but continued to be concentrated in the services (27.1 per cent), commerce and finance (22.2 per cent), manufacturing (12.6 per cent) and construction (11.2 per cent).
Total assets of the banking industry rose by 41.6 per cent to ¢56,275.7 billion (equivalent to GH¢5.62 billion) over the year to March 2007, compared with 24 per cent a year ago. Net loans and advances increased by 58.1 per cent to reach ¢26,354.7 billion (or GH¢2.63 billion) in March 2007, compared with 41.8 per cent for the preceding year.
Broad money supply rose by 1.2 per cent during the first quarter of 2007, compared with the 17.4 per cent recorded in the last quarter of 2006, and 3.6 per cent in the corresponding period of 2006.
Dr Acquah said reserve money broadly declined at a somewhat more rapid pace in the first quarter of 2007. This was after peaking at 32.3 per cent in December 2006, reserve money declined by 11.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2007 compared with 8.2 per cent seasonal drop over the same period in 2006.
Provisional data at the end of April 2007 show that on year-on-year basis, reserve money grew by 20.6 per cent compared with 32.3 per cent at the end of December 2006 and 18.5 per cent at the end of April 2006.
On Interest rates, Dr Acquah said they eased downwards along the spectrum of maturities with the benchmark 91-day Treasury Bill rate falling to 9.55 per cent at end April 2007.
The 182-day Treasury bill and one-yr note also fell 10.26 and 12.4 per cent respectively.
The three-year fixed instrument moved to 13.5 per cent in April 2007 from 14.0 per cent in December 2006.
However, average lending rates remained unchanged within the range of 15.0 per cent and 33.5 per cent at the end of March 2007.
Provisional data for the external sector during the first quarter of 2007 shows the trade balance improved by 7.6 per cent from a deficit of US$842.25 million in the first quarter of 2006 to US$778.63 million at the end of the first quarter of 2007.
Total merchandise exports at the end of March 2007 amounted to 1,044.08 million dollars, an increase of 12 percent over fourth quarter 2006 position, and 13 percent compared with that of the first quarter of 2006.
Total imports in the first quarter of 2007 amounted to US$1,822.71 million, a growth of 15.8 per cent over that of first quarter of 2006, and 2.7 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2006.
Crude oil imports amounted to US$415.43 million, about 24 per cent above the US$379.79 million recorded in the first quarter of 2006, reflecting an increase in volume, as the average price declined by 6.7 per cent.
Trade deficit, however, narrowed by 7.6 per cent from 842.25 million dollars in the fourth quarter of 2006 to 778.63 million dollars for the first quarter of 2007.
The external current account recorded a deficit of 482.8 million dollars compared to a deficit of 181 million dollars (before debt relief) recorded in the first quarter of 2006.